Thursday, 3 May 2018

Over tenth of Czech Roma at schools for kids with mental disorder

ČTK |
8 January 2018

Prague, Jan 6 (CTK) - About 12.7 percent of Roma pupils, or one in eight, attend elementary schools with learning programmes for children with a light mental disorder, according to a report on the implementation of the inclusion in education project.

The project, launched in September 2016, is aimed to boost the integration of children with special learning needs, including Roma kids, in mainstream schools.

In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights stated that by placing 18 Roma children in special schools for slow learners, the Czech Republic violated their right to education and discriminated against them.

The Education Ministry annually submits a report on the inclusion in education project's implementation to the government, and it is also supposed to send it to the Council of Europe by mid-February.

According to expert estimates, 33,704 Roma children attend Czech elementary schools in the current school year.

The number of Roma children educated in special schools for pupils with a light mental disorder is estimated at 4,290, which is 12.73 percent of all Roma pupils.

In the previous school year, it was 12.75 percent, or 4,318 of them, almost the same share like now.

Roma children make up 29.5 percent of special schools' pupils, compared with 30.9 percent in the preceding school year.

At the same time, mainstream schools saw the number of new Roma pupils increase by 900 in the past year, but this corresponds to the current stronger generation of first graders in the Czech population, the report says.

There are 4,152 elementary schools with a total of 926,108 pupils in the 10.5-million Czech Republic.

Roma pupils make up 3.6 percent of elementary school pupils on average, but their share markedly differs in various regions.

In the Usti Region, north Bohemia, one in nine pupils has Roma ethnicity, compared with one in hundred in Prague.

More than one quarter of all Roma children go to school in the Usti Region, and almost one fifth in Moravia-Silesia.

Roma pupils' share in special schools is the highest, almost 23 percent, in the Zlin Region, southeast Moravia, and the lowest, about 7 percent, in the westernmost Region of Karlovy Vary.

Over 20 percent of Roma children attend schools in which more than a half of fellow pupils are Roma children. There are 77 such schools in the country, including 12 with more than 90 percent of Roma pupils each, says the report which has already been discussed by the new cabinet of Andrej Babis (ANO).

The latest annual report on the state of human rights, which the previous cabinet discussed last year, stated that discrimination against Roma children continues in the country even despite the inclusion in education project.

Roma children are no longer placed in special schools so often but they are frequently taught in separate Roma classes or schools.

Fully or largely Roma schools and classes have been established, which are considered of a lower quality, the report said, adding that Roma parents sometimes themselves want their offspring to be separated from the majority population children at school.

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